Branch closures at LSL as it swings back into profit
Tue 30 Jul 2013
LSL Property Services, owners of estate agency chains you Move and Reeds Rains as well as mortgages and surveying businesses, has announced a pre-tax profit of 8.4m for the first half of this year, despite revenues being slightly down.
The group also closed several estate agency branches. It has not specified how many in its report to shareholders, simply saying a number. The cost of the closures, including redundancies, was 672,000. The group also announced that its shareholding in property portal Zoopla is now worth 11.8m. LSLs overall income for the first half of this year was 118.8m, down from 120.8m for the first half of 2012.
In the same period last year, it made a loss of 7.9m because of having to set aside 17.9m in over-valuation claims dating back to 2004-2008. This year, it made no provisions. The firm described its estate agency performance as excellent and improving. It says the housing market has improved significantly since Easter and that by the end of June it had a 7% increase in pipeline business compared with a year ago.
Excluding London agent Marsh & Parsons, profit per branch rose to 26,000 on a rolling 12 month basis. Last year the figure was 10,000. Marsh & Parsons performed well with revenue increasing by 5% to 13.5m (2012: 12.8m) including residential sales growth of 12% and lettings growth of 3%. LSL lettings revenue jumped 9% from 22.6m in the first half of 2012 to 24.7m this year, while sales income increased 2% to 34.9m, up from 34.1m. LSL, which owns mortgage businesses Pink Network and First Complete, saw its financial services revenue grow 9% to 15.7m, up from 14.4m. In total the group arranged mortgage
lending of 4bn during the first half compared to 3.6bn last year. LSL chairman Roger Matthews said: Market conditions and group performance have improved significantly since Easter. Current indications from lenders are that these early signs of recovery will be maintained. It is expected that the benefits from improved market transaction volumes will be seen in the second half and we are increasing the rate of investment to build capacity across both agency and surveying divisions to capitalise on greater activity.